DATE OF ISSUANCE: This policy was originally issued to campus in 1981 as Organization Announcement 299, "Policy Against Sexual Harassment." The most recent revision was approved by the President's Council on February 11, 2000.
ACCOUNTABLE DEPARTMENT/UNIT: Human Resources. Questions about policy content should be directed to the associate vice president and chief Human Resources officer, 412-268-1243, or any of the designated contacts.
In addition to the responsible parties identified above, concerns regarding sexual harassment and questions about this policy or the processes outlined in this policy may be submitted to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, G. Richard Tucker, at 412-268-5865, firstname.lastname@example.org or 5000 Forbes Avenue, 609B Warner Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Concerns may also be submitted to the University’s Hotline at 1-877-700-7050.
ABSTRACT: Policy defines sexual harassment and describes procedures for reporting and for investigating allegations, and disciplinary actions when a violation is found to have occurred.
MISC: See also the policies:
For federal guidelines regarding sexual harassment and students, see the following publications from the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights:
NOTE: On April 4, 2011, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” providing significant guidance for sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention, remediation and enforcement programs under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The University believes that its existing Policy against Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Policy are consistent with the spirit and intent of the Dear Colleague Letter, and is currently engaged in a comprehensive review of these two policies to evaluate the necessity for substantive and procedural revisions.
Prior to approval of revisions to the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Policies (which are scheduled for formal policy review in AY 2012-13), the University recognizes that it must adjust certain substantive and procedural provisions in its current policy statements to comply with particular mandates in the Dear Colleague Letter. Thus, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the text of the existing policies, the University has implemented and will continue to implement the following substantive and procedural changes: inclusion of sexual violence and sexual assault within the scope and definition of sexual harassment; application of the policies to vendors and visitors of the University and prompt remedial action where appropriate; express recognition that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed in all cases because of the University’s obligation to investigate and safeguard the campus community; cessation of mediation as a mechanism for resolution of sexual assault cases; and application of the preponderance of the evidence standard in any formal sexual harassment or sexual assault proceedings.
Questions should be directed to: G. Richard Tucker, the University’s Title IX Officer; Gina Casalegno, Dean of Student Affairs; Dianne Kenney, Associate VP for HR; or James Mercolini, Deputy General Counsel.
Sexual harassment is specifically prohibited by
The free expression of ideas being essential to the mission of the university, discourse conducted in accordance with the University Policy on Free Speech and Assembly and with the statement on Academic Freedom and Responsibility enunciated in the Appointment and Tenure Policy of Carnegie Mellon University, whether in written, spoken, or electronic forms, will not be regarded as creating an offensive work environment for the purposes of this definition.
Under federal, state, and local legislation, employers have an affirmative duty to address the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace; to devise and adopt appropriate procedures for maintaining a working atmosphere free of sexual coercion or intimidation; and to investigate claims of sexual harassment.
The present policy (herein referred to as this Policy) is intended to implement the cited mandate. All members of the university community are expected to take reasonable measures to prevent and discourage any sexual harassment from occurring; prevention should, in particular, be a guiding concern for all involved in any proceedings under this Policy. Any faculty member, student, or staff employee found to have violated this Policy by engaging in conduct constituting sexual harassment will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may include dismissal, expulsion, or termination in sufficiently serious cases.
In support of its commitment to maintain an environment free of sexual harassment, the university makes sexual harassment advising as widely available as possible. To that end, the university assigns special responsibility to the persons on its Panel of Sexual Harassment Advisors. The university also provides multiple avenues, both formal and informal, for addressing incidents of sexual harassment. Informal resolution may involve the assistance of sexual harassment advisors, supervisors, or other administrators. A formal complaint procedure is also available, and is described below.
No person will be reprimanded or retaliated against in any way for initiating an inquiry or lodging a complaint in good faith regarding sexual harassment; any conduct constituting such a reprimand or retaliation is a violation of this Policy and is equally subject to disciplinary action under it. Any person subjected to conduct perceived as a reprimand or retaliation for initiating an inquiry or lodging a complaint in good faith regarding sexual harassment should promptly report all relevant information to one of the sexual harassment policy coordinators (the administrators charged with the supervision of all matters relating to sexual harassment). The university is also committed to protecting the rights of any person against whom an allegation of sexual harassment is made.
The following is a summary of the principles that shall govern all procedures under this policy, to the extent permitted by law.
Trained advisors are available to talk with members of the community who have questions or concerns about sexual harassment. They can also provide information about established guidelines and procedures for dealing with issues of sexual harassment and its prevention, and will help individuals pursue effective courses of action.
In the exercise of their functions, the sexual harassment advisors will maintain the greatest degree of confidentiality consistent with their responsibilities as university representatives.
Supervisors are responsible for maintaining an environment that is free of sexual harassment. A supervisor observing any conduct that appears to constitute sexual harassment, or receiving a report of such conduct, is required to proceed as follows:
Note: For the purposes of this Policy, the term supervisor denotes a university employee who has been given the authority to evaluate, direct, reward, or discipline one or more other employees and/or students, or to effectively recommend such action.
Any member of the university community, whether faculty member, student, or staff member, who believes she or he has been subjected to sexual harassment or knows of the occurrence of probable sexual harassment is strongly urged to immediately contact one of the sexual harassment advisors or policy coordinators directly or with the help of the sexual harassment hotline. Because of the sensitivity of sexual harassment issues, an advisor will then promptly endeavor to thoroughly review the matter with the person making the allegations to determine whether sexual harassment appears to have occurred, and proceed, in consultation with the person having brought the matter to the advisor and a sexual harassment policy coordinator, to take or recommend appropriate action. Such action may be, for example, obtaining an informal agreement to stop the harassment, or reporting to an appropriate supervisor. All reviews conducted with the assistance of a sexual harassment advisor will be designed to consider the privacy of all parties concerned and to minimize suspicion toward any of them.
Note: This policy places great importance on the success of
supervisors in taking early, effective action in response to reports of sexual
harassment concerns. The policy works best when supervisors are informed and
can act to alert members of
A person who believes that she or he has been subjected to sexual harassment may choose, either initially or after having sought a resolution through consultation with a sexual harassment advisor and/or through a report to a supervisor, to lodge a formal complaint. A formal complaint must be lodged no later than one year after the most recent conduct alleged in the complaint to constitute sexual harassment. The lodging and processing of a complaint does not preclude the possibility of an informal resolution of the matter.
Anyone considering lodging a formal complaint is required to contact a sexual harassment advisor for advice. Merely discussing an intended complaint with an advisor does not commit one to actually lodging the formal complaint.
The procedures devised for the handling and disposition of a complaint are designed to consider the privacy of all persons involved in the complaint. Every effort is to be made to preserve confidentiality to the extent compatible with fairness and with the constraints of the law.
Appropriate sanctions will be imposed for violation of this Policy, regardless of whether there has been a formal complaint. The sanctions will depend on the circumstances and the gravity of the violation, and may range from reprimand to dismissal, expulsion, or termination.
The decision to impose sanctions and the procedure for imposing them shall conform: in the case of a member of the regular, research, or special faculty or a lecturer-track appointee, to the provisions of the section on Dismissal for Cause and Other Sanctions of the Appointment and Tenure Policy of Carnegie Mellon University (except that action regarding such a person's administrative appointments is at the discretion of the President); in the case of a student, whether undergraduate, graduate, or special, to the provisions in the section on Discipline in the Student Handbook; in the case of a staff member, to the provisions in the section on Staff Relations in the Staff Handbook, unless superseded by the provisions of an applicable collective bargaining agreement.
The coordination of matters pertaining to this Policy is entrusted, under the authority of the President, to the Provost, the Dean of Student Affairs, and the administrator in charge of the Department of Human Resources. They are referred to in this Policy as the sexual harassment policy coordinators, or the coordinators for short.
The panel of sexual harassment advisors shall include both male and female persons; it shall include, so far as practicable, at least two persons from each of the following groups: university officers and administrators; faculty (regular, research, and special faculty and lecturer-track appointees); graduate students; undergraduate students; staff not subject to a collective bargaining agreement.
The sexual harassment advisors are selected by the coordinators for renewable and, so far as practicable, staggered terms of two years, and may be removed by them without prejudice at any time. The selection process should include nominations by the relevant administrators and by the Chair of the Faculty Organization, the Student Body President, the President of the Graduate Student Organization, and the Chair of the Staff Council.
A list of the persons serving as sexual harassment policy coordinators, a list of the panel of sexual harassment advisors, and the number of the university sexual harassment hotline shall be maintained current and available to the university community at all times.
The coordinators and the Panel of Sexual Harassment Advisors shall provide the President, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, and the Executive Committee of Staff Council with an annual confidential report, detailing the number and disposition of different types of incidents, allegations, and complaints of sexual harassment that have come to their attention.
If the respondent is not a student, the procedure will be managed by one of the sexual harassment policy coordinators, herein called the coordinator; as a rule, this coordinator will be the Provost if the respondent is a faculty member, and the administrator in charge of the Department of Human Resources if the respondent is a staff member.
The pool from which members of the committees of investigation are to be drawn consists of members of the university community thoughtfully selected by the coordinators and provided with appropriate training. The selection is made from faculty members nominated by the Chair of the Faculty Organization, students nominated by the Student Senate Chair and the President of the Graduate Student Organization, and staff members nominated by the Chair of the Staff Council, and the pool also includes a suitable number of members of the university administration. The number of pool members from each group is determined from time to time by the coordinators, but the pool should at all times contain, if possible, twenty-four: eight faculty members, eight students (undergraduate and graduate), and eight staff members. Pool members are appointed for renewable and, as far as possible, staggered terms of two years, but may be removed without prejudice at any time by the coordinators.
The great importance of confidentiality in the (informal and formal) processes described in this policy is underscored by requiring each member of the pool to sign a pledge to respect and to preserve the confidentiality of their work. If called to serve on a Committee of Investigation, no one may serve without first signing the pledge.
No sexual harassment advisors shall be members of the committee of investigation, but an experienced sexual harassment advisor shall serve as non-voting moderator of the committee and shall provide it with his or her expert advice.
The complainant and the respondent may object, for cause, to the appointment of a specific person or specific persons as member or members of the committee of investigation. The convening coordinator shall consider the objection and, if it is accepted, shall replace the affected member or members of the committee.
With regard to any sexual harassment found by the committee of investigation to have occurred, the committee shall make a considered recommendation regarding appropriate action consistent with the applicable university policies.
The conduct of the hearing is under the exclusive control of the committee of investigation. Its proceedings are not those of a court of law. In the interest of confidentiality, the hearing is not public, and the complainant (or each individual complainant if there are more than one) as well as the respondent (or each individual respondent) may be accompanied at the hearing by at most one other person of his or her choice. This person may, but is not required to, be a sexual harassment advisor. The complainant and the respondent may confer with the respective accompanying person, but that person may not address the hearing unless called as a witness, and then only in that capacity. Unless permitted to be present throughout the proceedings in a capacity as complainant, respondent, or accompanying person, a witness may be present only while testifying.
When there are student members of the committee, they will be participating but non-voting members of the committee. Non-voting members will sit as part of the committee, question parties and witnesses, and participate in the discussion of evidence and recommended actions. Only the non-student members shall vote on the findings and recommendations for actions as provided in points #5 and #9.
When the coordinator's decision with regard to an individual respondent is to take no action, or to recommend to the President that no action be taken and the President concurs, as well as when the President declines to accept a recommendation for action, the coordinator shall, at that respondent's request, in writing, address to that respondent a letter identifying the allegations investigated and stating the findings of the committee of investigation and the conclusions of the coordinator's evaluation and/or the President's decision, as appropriate. The letter shall be available for responsible use at the addressee's discretion. It shall not be included in the personnel file unless such inclusion is requested, in writing, by the addressee. The coordinator's letter must be formulated, and used by the recipient, so as to preserve the confidentiality of the process, and shall in particular include only information already disclosed to the addressee.
If it appears to the coordinator that an extension of one or more of these time periods is essential to safeguard the integrity and fairness of the process, he or she shall determine a reasonable time period for such an extension, and shall document in writing the reasons for the extension and communicate them to all persons involved in each specific stage of the process to which the extension applies. When an extension of the time period allotted to the committee's investigation and hearing is contemplated, the coordinator must consult the complainant, the respondent, and the committee of investigation before making a decision.
A critical instance demanding attention to this requirement of fairness is the coordinator's choice of members of a committee of investigation. The coordinator will ensure a balanced membership as the make-up of the committee is determined.
 Currently the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources